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Wall Street stocks reclaim bulk of day-ago losses

Wall Street stocks reclaim bulk of day-ago losses

Stocks ended higher on Wednesday, as a successful sovereign debt auction in Portugal helped ease concerns about Europe, but with gains capped after the Federal Reserve confirmed the U.S. economy is slowing.
In its survey by 12 regional banks, the Fed reported conditions mixed or decelerating in five regions.
In Ohio, President Barack Obama argued for giving tax cuts to Americans making US$250,000 or less, and against continuing tax cuts for wealthier Americans, saying the country can’t afford the US$700 billion price tag.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 46.32 points, or 0.5 percent, to end at 10,387.01, about 40 points shy of returning to positive for 2010.
Twenty-four of its 30 components rose, with aluminum giant Alcoa Inc. paving the way, up 2 percent.
Hewlett-Packard Co. fell the most among the blue chips, losing 2.8 percent after UBS AG downgraded the computer manufacturer from buy to neutral. UBS also cut Intel Corp., with the chip manufacturer off 1.2 percent.
In an ongoing corporate drama, HP went to court Tuesday in an effort to block former chief executive Mark Hurd from joining Oracle Corp., its rival in the server computer market.
A regulatory filing Wednesday has Oracle offering the ousted HP executive a salary of US$950,000 and a bonus of as much as US$10 million for fiscal 2011, plus stock options, to join it as a co-president.
The S&P 500 index gained 7.03 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,098.87, with financial and industrial companies, among the index’s 10 industry groups, leading the rise.
The Nasdaq composite index added 19.98 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,228.87.
For every stock on the decline, more than two rose on the New York Stock Exchange, where nearly 880 million shares traded.
After finishing at a record high Tuesday, gold futures fell, while crude-oil futures tallied modest gains to finish at US$74.67 a barrel.